KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Research Analyst -

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Research Analyst


There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success. Today, we bring you the journey of our Research Analyst Melissa McManus, Ed.D.

KAI Partners, Inc.: Melissa, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Melissa McManus: When I was a little girl what I really wanted to be was an actress. But I grew up and realized that was not realistic for me. If you ask anyone who knows me however, they will tell you that I love learning. So education seemed to be a great fit at the time and so I planned on being a teacher and working in education.

KAI: And as our fearless Research Analyst, we know you’re not doing that! How did you get into this profession?

MM: The combination really of all of my degrees has led me to being KAI Partners Fearless Research Analyst. I have been referred to as a professional student, but I prefer the term “lifelong learner.” To give you an idea of my educational background, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (I call it the ‘Jack of all Trades’ degree), a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Management with a concentration in Human Resource Development.

KAI: So, how does all of that add up to you becoming a Research Analyst?

MM: My path to my current position as a Research Analyst is not what one would call typical. Then again, I do not go through life in a typical fashion; I make my own way. I am one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason. While my original plan of being a teacher did not pan out, what I did achieve was better for me in the long run. Luckily, all of the education I received has assisted me in my current career.

KAI: Tell us how your years as a “lifelong learner” have informed the work you do today.

MM: My ‘Jack of All Trades’ degree in Liberal Studies laid the foundation for not only my educational journey, but my career as well. I learned what my writing style was and I got my first real taste and appreciation for research. My Master’s degree in Counseling taught me how to communication with and relate to other people. It provided a new perspective on how to communicate effectively with others, including both verbal and nonverbal communication. Having the ability to read people has come in handy in many situations.

My Doctorate degree was the most intense. It taught me leadership skills, rekindled my passion for research, and provided me with a concrete knowledge of human resource development—including talent management, career development, knowledge transfer, and coaching/mentoring. Mostly, my Doctoral degree taught me a lot about myself. I learned my propensity for procrastination and how to manage it, I learned what my leadership style is and how best to implement that with others, and I learned how I can use my personality type (INTJ) to my advantage.

All of my degrees had a specific purpose. Now, I apply them in my current role by taking components from each of my specialties and building my knowledge base. Depending on what I’m researching at any given time, I tap into the education I’ve received to help build upon more skills. Always going back to my true passion—learning—is what has allowed me to be successful in my current position as a Research Analyst.

Now that we’ve learned more about Melissa’s research work, here’s a little more about her!

Quick Q&A with Melissa:

Daily, must-visit website: Google

Preferred genre of music to listen to at work: Country music

Best professional advice received: Never stop learning

Top productivity hack: Take time to get up and walk around away from the computer

Book you can read over and over again: Harry Potter

Most-recent binge-watched show: Homeland

About Melissa: Melissa McManus has six years of research experience, as well as over a decade of experience working in the educational sector. Melissa received her Master’s in counseling from California State University, Fresno and her Doctorate degree from Drexel University. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, research, writing, career development, training, and knowledge transfer. Outside of work, Melissa is involved in various community service efforts, including serving in the library of her local church.

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